One of the delights (or difficulties, depending on your point of view) of being a pastor is that in most parishes, you are constantly surrounded by a mix of people — much more of a mix than most people have in their ordinary workplaces. Rich people and poor people, folks with lots of degrees and folks with little formal education, people with deep roots in an area and people who moved into that place . . . a rich diversity of people indeed. As I prepare for Thanksgiving at our home, and think about the food that will be spread for my family and friends, many of my parishioners (current and former) go through my mind.

If you have a beverage at hand, now would be a good time to fill your glass . . .

*raising my glass*

I give thanks for farmers. I give thanks for the ranchers with their cattle, bison, sheep, and hogs, as well as the folks who grow wheat, corn, soybeans, and truck crops. I give thanks for those who tend orchards and vineyards, and those who go out in their boats to bring in the fruits of the sea.

I give thanks for the meteorologists and other scientists who offer their expertise, to help the farmers make the most of their land and their farms, and I give thanks for those who inspect our food, to help insure its safety.

I give thanks for those who bring this food to markets to be sold, and I give thanks for those who run the markets, putting this food before me as I shop.

I give thanks for my family, who cook with me and for me, and I give thanks for my friends, who dine with me and bless me with their presence.

Beyond all this, I give thanks for those who serve food to others.

I give thanks for those who run the restaurants where I go out to eat — the cooks, the servers, and those who clean up — and I give thanks for those who prepare the meals in schools and nursing homes, in mess halls and prisons, in hospitals and government cafeterias.

I give thanks for those who serve in soup kitchens and food pantries, helping those on the margins of society to not only fill their bellies but to know that they are not forgotten or without worth, and I give thanks for those who eat in soup kitchens and shop in food pantries, for reminding me by their presence of our shared humanity and our mutual responsibility for one another.

As you gather this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for you and for those with whom you dine. Whether you gather around a carnivore’s delight of turducken slathered in gravy made from the drippings or a vegan’s feast of vegetables and herbs, may this day of Thanksgiving be a day in which you give thanks for the community that surrounds you.

To Thanksgiving, and to people to be thankful for!

*ding*

(Because as I wrote in the midst of the Scooter Libby trial, we have to ding.)

photo h/t to Dinner Series and used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license